BHA Disqualify Leading Owner Harry Findlay For 6 Months

British horseracing appears to have shot itself in the foot once again after Harry Findlay, joint owner of 2008 Gold Cup winner Denman, was controversially disqualified for 6 months for laying one of his horses on Betfair.

After being charged by the BHA last month in connection with the laying of his horse Gullible Gordon on two occasions, colourful owner/gambler Harry Findlay has been punished with a 6 month ban.

Findlay was found guilty of the offence by a BHA disciplinary panel, and horses in his, and his mother’s name, will be unable to race during the disqualification period.

The two offences relate to races at Exeter in October 2008 and Chepstow in 2009.

On both occasions Findlay had backed as well as layed Gullible Gordon, and was never in a position to profit from the defeat of the horse.

The BHA accepted that there was no corrupt motive in Findlay’s actions, but insisted that he was technically in breach of the rules, which warranted the resulting penalty.

Speaking to At The Races,Findlay explained: The first race at Exeter I made a technical error and pressed the wrong button.

" The second one we had a big bet before the race and as a gambler I called my friend Glen ( Gill ) from Chepstow and had a big bet on Gullible Gordon and he had a bit more on and laid it in running.

" At the time we saw nothing wrong with it and the investigators totally agreed with that and passed on what they thought was the right thing.

" I did not check the rules and the serious trouble I was in was my own fault and I certainly don’t blame the panel."

The incident has resulted in a sympathetic statement from a Betfair spokesman, saying: " We do not believe the punishment to be proportionate or, for that matter, consistent with similar offences in the past.

" We will continue to welcome Harry as a customer."

While it is clear that the BHA have carried out the letter of the law, it will be felt by most that justice has not been done, and a famous Dickens’ quote sums up the situation:

" The law is an ass."

If the BHA is to retain a semblance of credibility this is one rule that needs to be reviewed sooner, rather than later.